I found this habit to be the one I need most (so far.) When reflecting on the third habit of “Put First Things First” I found the that placing areas or tasks in my life in their respective “quadrant” allowed me to gain perspective on how I can organize my work, school, home, health, faith, marriage and three kids (not in that order) according to my priorities and “true north.” I know have always invested in what I thought was planning, prioritizing, organizing, scheduling, etc., but I am my life is still defined as Dr. Pumpian says, “feeling like there is not enough time in the day.” I often try to eliminate things from my plate, but many are not mine to eliminate because I am the mother of three busy kids. Professionally as well because I am a Special Day Class teacher where I plan for instruction and teach my students all day, but also must manage their Individual Education Plans and Behavior Support Plans, I do not have the freedom to rearrange report deadlines first. This causes me to bring work home, which causes me to work late after I run kids around and take care of my family. Then where does my school work fit? And forget about exercising, I stand up to eat dinner because if I sit down I will fall asleep and not get to my work which takes me until late/early hours and then wake up early to start it all over again. I definitely feel it taking a toll and was relieved to hear I am not alone. After compartmentalizing tasks I found myself relieved and referring to the image of my four quadrants. I exercised this habit when a friend asked me if I was planning on joining their book club. Saying no is extremely difficult for me and I really wanted to connect with this group of women. While I do see the book club aligning with my vision both professionally and personally to put relationships first, I have other relationships in my first two Quadrants that need my attention, in addition to school reading assignments that also need my attention which leaves me to conclude that I will need to ask to join at another time.
Because my husband is also busy managing his own business and two additional positions, I am going to teach him Habit Three: Put Things First. I think he needs it as much as I need it. It has been fun to teach him these first two habits, along with my son, as he has been referencing “True North” regularly now. While we sometimes overuse it to joke around, we both know how true it really is. This next habit will have us both not only referring to “True North,” but also planning around our vision together for our family and independently for our professions. If Covey hasn’t already used this for “highly effective marriages,” I would say there is a niche.